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Wednesday's Sports in Brief

Thursday - 12/20/2012, 7:20am  ET

The Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) -- The Penn State child sex abuse scandal was selected as the sports story of the year by U.S. editors and news directors in an annual vote conducted by The Associated Press.

The news broke in November 2011, with a grand jury report outlining charges against Jerry Sandusky, and the outrage that followed led to the firing of Hall of Fame coach Joe Paterno. But the aftershocks were felt long into 2012: Sandusky was convicted in June of assaulting 10 boys, and the NCAA handed down brutal sanctions in July.

In both years, the scandal was picked as the top sports story, the first time since the AP began conducting its annual vote in 1990 that the same story was selected twice in a row. The results of this year's tally were announced Wednesday.

Lance Armstrong being stripped of his seven Tour de France titles was No. 2 and the Saints bounty scandal was No. 3.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- Moments after his team lost a basketball game, Winthrop coach Pat Kelsey spoke of a bigger loss.

The first-year coach of the Eagles gave an impassioned plea for government and private leaders to act soon to prevent further massacres such as the one at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., last week that left 20 children and six adults dead at the school.

"The last thing I want to say is I'm really, really lucky, because I'm going to get on an eight-hour bus ride, and I'm going to arrive in Rock Hill, South Carolina, and I'm going to walk into my house, and I'm going to walk upstairs, and I'm going to walk into two pink rooms with a 5-year-old and a 4-year-old laying in that pink room, with a bunch of teddy bears laying in that room," he said, concluding his remarks in the wake of a 65-55 loss at No. 7 Ohio State.

"And I'm going to give them the biggest hug and the biggest kiss I've ever given them. And there's 20 families in Newtown, Conn., that are walking into a pink room with a bunch of teddy bears with nobody laying in those beds. And it's tragic."

Kelsey called on political leaders to get past petty differences and accomplish something.

"I didn't vote for President Obama. But you know what? He's my president now. He's my leader. I need him to step up," he said. "Mr. (John) Boehner, the Speaker of the House ... OK, he needs to step up."

He also called for others to get involved and prevent a reoccurrence of such tragedies.

"Parents, teachers, rabbis, priests, coaches -- everybody needs to step up," he said.

PRO FOOTBALL

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -- For much of his hour-long visit with the family of a 6-year-old boy killed in the Connecticut school shootings, Victor Cruz talked about football, life and young Jack, the child who idolized him.

The New York Giants wide receiver somberly recounted his meeting with Pinto's parents and brother in Newtown, Conn.

He struggled in his retelling only when asked about the family's decision to bury the child in the receiver's No. 80 Giants jersey. The father of an infant girl, Cruz stopped for a moment, and his eyes became watery.

"You never go through some circumstances like this and circumstances where a kid faces or a family faces something of this magnitude at their school," Cruz said. "This definitely was the toughest by far."

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) -- New York Jets' third-string quarterback Greg McElroy is getting his first NFL start Sunday, stepping in for the benched Mark Sanchez and leapfrogging backup Tim Tebow on the depth chart. Rex Ryan made the decision Tuesday to go with the team's seventh-round pick last year out of Alabama.

Ryan would not go into detail about why he chose Greg McElroy over Tebow with two games left in a lost season. He reiterated his comments from Tuesday that it was his decision -- and his alone -- saying it was a "gut" call.

"Obviously, I'm a little disappointed," Tebow said. "You try to handle it the best you can."

PITTSBURGH (AP) -- Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger apologized to offensive coordinator Todd Haley for his comments following a 27-24 overtime loss to Dallas last Sunday.

Roethlisberger took Haley to task over the team's inability to feature tight end Heath Miller in the second half and wondered why the Steelers didn't stay in the no-huddle offense. The quarterback says he was frustrated after Pittsburgh (7-7) lost for the fourth time in five games and that he was unable to keep his emotions under control.

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